14 NJ unions to sue Christie administration over pension underpayment

 Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie presented a budget plan that omits a $1.6 billion payment to the state's pension systems. (AP file photo)

Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie presented a budget plan that omits a $1.6 billion payment to the state's pension systems. (AP file photo)

Fourteen unions representing public employees in New Jersey are planning to file another lawsuit challenging the amount of the Christie administration’s payments to their pension plans.

 

Gov. Chris Christie’s new state budget plan provides $1.6 billion less for the pension system than the law he signed in 2011 requires.

“We’re saying the governor must meet his responsibility by proposing a budget that, in fact, is balanced because it meets all the legal responsibilities of that budget,” said Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey director of the Communications Workers of America. “And that includes the pension.”

Christie is appealing a judge’s order to make an additional $1.6 billion payment into the pension plan in the current fiscal year.

The unions contend the state is putting the solvency of the pension system at risk by not making its full contribution.

“Before the budget is finished, let’s do it right,” said New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer. “I’m hoping that the Legislature will do what’s right and pass that amount in and draft the budget, but, of course, the governor gets to do a line-item veto at the end of it.”

Every day spent waiting for the state’s contribution brings the fund closer to insolvency, he said.

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